Biden Presses Israel To Declare Ceasefire, Calls Netanyahu's Gaza Campaign a 'Mistake'

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April 10, 2024

President Joe Biden last week pressed for Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to pursue a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, calling Netanyahu’s campaign against Hamas a "mistake."

"I think what [Netanyahu] is doing is a mistake. I don’t agree with his approach," Biden said in an interview that aired Tuesday on Univision. "What I’m calling for is for the Israelis to just call for a ceasefire, allow for the next six, eight weeks, total access to all food and medicine going into the country." 

The interview was recorded last Wednesday, according to the Associated Press, two days after an Israeli airstrike killed seven aid workers from World Central Kitchen. During a phone call on Thursday between the two leaders, Biden condemned the airstrike and threatened to withhold support for Israel, while also urging Netanyahu to seek an immediate ceasefire. 

Biden’s remarks came as critics of Israel have increasingly piled pressure on him to pull support from Israel amid its war with Hamas. More than 100,000 Michigan Democrats voted "uncommitted" in the state’s Democratic presidential primary as part of a protest to demand Biden call for a ceasefire. On Tuesday, dozens of anti-Israel protesters shut down a Senate cafeteria to call for more aid to Gaza and fewer weapons to Israel. 

The president did not tie his calls for a ceasefire to the release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas terrorists, which Netanyahu and other Israeli officials have repeatedly demanded.  

Israel’s war cabinet minister Benny Gantz on Wednesday said Hamas terrorists are now either "eliminated or in hiding" and that Hamas has been "defeated" militarily. "[Israel] will not stop," Gantz added. "We will enter Rafah. We will return to Khan Younis. And we will operate in Gaza. Wherever there are terrorist targets—the [Israel Defense Forces] will be there."